Your business, as well as your body, are mine now. Get used to it.
Arrogant bastard. How could he possibly say something like that to her? It wasn’t enough that she’d lost the distillery, now she’d lost her freedom right along with it. But there was something in the way he took control that had her spellbound.
A glass of whiskey was in her hand, blue eyes staring into the amber liquid within. She was tempted to throw the glass against the wall and watch it shatter. The house still smelled like him. The masculine scent that clung to every last surface in the house, mingled in with hers. Her scent was light, floral, jasmine, lavender, and a touch of sandalwood from the incense she was burning to try and drown out Fletcher’s scent.
She downed the whiskey in the glass, wincing slightly as it burned down her throat. At least he’d given her the clothes he’d taken back. She tightened the black satin robe around herself, moving slowly towards the door of her bedroom. Carefully, Liliana opened it up, peeking her head out around the corner. “Call Riona, Thorne. I need a woman around, I think.” The large man nodded, texting the assistant instead of calling her. He held up his hand, all five fingers extended.
Five minutes. She could last that long, couldn’t she? Maybe. It did leave five, long minutes of her being trapped within her thoughts. Thoughts of the last time they’d met.
You believe everyone’s going to just back off if you’re mean and uncouth.
Damn right she did. She only let a select few see the real Liliana, only allowed a few to know that she was lonely. It wasn’t a belief any more. It was a need to keep them at arm’s length. She needed the chance to keep herself distant. The further she pushed them away, the less of a chance she had to disappoint them.
I can hear it. And smell it. You’ve been dying for an orgasm all day.
Gods. She had to get him out of her head. The longer she let her thoughts linger on him, the more confused she became. She wanted to hate him. He took her business, ruined a healthy stock of whiskey, and had cut her off from everything she’d earned over the years. He’d turned her into a failure with a single flick of a pen.
The sandalwood incense did nothing to drown out his scent. She could still smell him there in the house, in the kitchen, bedroom, living room. Everywhere. Smoke billowed from the fingertips of her free hand, and she let the glass go down onto the counter with a sharp thud. It wasn’t often that she smoked, but the cigarettes in the drawer of the kitchen island were looking appealing at that moment. She reached into the drawer, taking them out, and igniting the tip with a flick of her fingers. Maybe the heavy scent of tobacco would cover up his scent.
Prove you want me. After all, we both know I’m not going to make you do anything you don’t want to.
At least he’d waited until she wanted him. He hadn’t forced his desires on her. He, at least, made sure there was some form of consent between them. And there was. She’d practically thrown herself at him, begging him to take her right there on the desk in her office.
It was the knock that jolted her from her thoughts. Thank the gods. Liliana strode towards the door, opening it, revealing the deep chestnut hair and big green eyes of her assistant. “Boss, is everything okay? You usually don’t call at three in the morning.”
“I just need someone to talk to, Riona. And we have a few things to discuss.”
“This is about the shit Nymeth pulled, isn’t it?” Liliana nodded in response to the question, moving towards the kitchen once more. Two glasses of whiskey were poured this time, one passed to the brunette.
“I’m sure you know that the distillery was bought out from under me.” Riona nodded, keeping quiet for the moment. “It was bought by a vampire. Fletcher Murdoch. And there’s a lot more to the deal than we originally realized. I’ve gone over the contract a million times, trying not to burn the damned thing.”
“What more is there?”
“He doesn’t just own the distillery, Ri. He owns me now.”
“Lili, that’s bull shit.” Riona strode towards her boss, setting the glass on the counter so she could fold her arms across her chest. “No one owns you. I might not have been around long, but I know you better than that. He’s just fucking with your head.”
“That’s the thing, Ri. The contract states it in bold print. He owns the distillery, and in exchange for my life, I’m his now. But that’s not the problem. I… I like belonging to him.”
“Damn, is the sex that good?” Riona chuckled, picking up her whiskey again. “I’ve never seen a man who can keep you coming back for more like that.”
“It is. But, the truth is, I have to at least pretend to be good. Submissive.” She took a pull from the cigarette in her hand, tapping the excess ash into a crystal ashtray. “As of right now, he has every last account of mine on hold. He hasn’t managed to find the spare cash that I keep on hand, but it’s only a matter of time before he does. I’ll be using that to pay the rest of the distillery this month.”
“Fuck, Lili. If you need help paying Louis and the others, you know I’ll help you out.”
“No. That’s my job as the CEO. I’m just glad that Aimee’s employees are all immune to diseases. And they’re paid separately.” Liliana turned, moving back towards that massive window just on the other side of the living room. Her blue eyes looked out over Persistence, one arm loosely wrapped around herself. “I won’t lie, Ri. This is going to be one hell of a fight. Just… promise me you’ll stick with me through this, okay?”
“Of course, Lili.” Riona moved up next to Liliana, a smile on her face. “So, am I allowed to ask why the place smells like sandalwood? Or are you going to tell me to fuck off?”
“I was hoping it would cover his scent. I don’t know if I want to hate him or enjoy him.”
“Don’t let him get into your head, Lili. There’s nothing wrong with giving in to the physical urges. If he’s good in bed, why not? But don’t let him get the upper hand when it comes to your mind, okay? Because he seems like the type to fuck with your head and make you crave him. Like air or water.”
“Gods, he is.”